Ohio Wesleyan keeps eye on prize
Battling Bishops’ team vans get broken into in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO -- Unfortunately, Oho Wesleyan’s trip to the Division III men’s soccer national semifinals will contain the memory of having its team vans broken into on Wednesday afternoon.
The Bishops, who are set to take on Montclair State at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, had not been away from the San Antonio International Airport for more than 30 minutes when their vans were broken into while they ate lunch at a local restaurant.
After eating, they were shocked to find most of the items in two of their three vans gone.
Among the items stolen were: 15 laptop computers belonging to the players, wallets, clothes, practice gear, soccer shoes, uniforms and other personal items.
An Ohio Wesleyan sports information director was scheduled to bring down extra uniforms Thursday, and Trinity (Texas), the host school for the championship, loaned the Ohio Wesleyan players shoes, soccer balls and cones for practice.
It will be up to the San Antonio Police Department to find the other items that can’t be so easily replaced.
“Two of my guys were crying because all their projects and work for finals next week were on their computers that were stolen,” Oho Wesleyan coach Jay Martin said. “I immediately called our president and the dean of students. They said they will contact all their professors to tell them about the potential problem. They are very supportive. We want to take the academic pressure off them as quickly as we could.”
Martin is trying to keep his team focused on the task of advancing to the national championship match, which will take place on at 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday.
“My message to our guys is all that stuff is material, and they will get it back eventually,” Martin said. “But this experience is something they will have forever one way or the other.”
Martin said there was one open space between the three vans. One of the Ohio Wesleyan players noticed a truck pull into the empty space, but he didn’t see anything unusual. Martin and Trinity coach Paul McGinlay surmise that the burglary took maybe three or four minutes to take place.
“It looks like they used screwdrivers to get into the driver’s door of one van and the passenger side of another,” McGinlay said. “Our inventory is right here, so it was easy to help them.”
Martin and McGinlay have been friends for 25 years dating back to the time when they were conference rivals when the latter coached at Wooster.
“It is a small world,” McGinlay said. “Twenty-one years ago Jay wrote my reference for the Trinity job. I’ve been here ever since. He is a good friend, and I will do whatever I can to help him and his team.”
If the Bishops (21-2) win their national semifinal against Montclair State (19-3-3), it will mark a milestone victory for Martin, who has won 606 games in his career. His next victory would tie him with Joe Bean for the most by a men’s soccer coach.
|Championship Weekend Schedule|
|• All games played in San Antonio|
|Friday 6:30 p.m. Ohio Wesleyan vs. Montclair State|
|Friday 9 p.m. Oneonta State vs. Calvin|
|Saturday 6:30 p.m. Finals|
Montclair State would like for that celebration to take place next fall. The Red Hawks are making their first national semifinals appearance after defeating Stevens Institute 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
Senior Kevin Brown scored the game-winner with 16 minutes left in the match.
“Those minutes after the goal were ridiculously long,” Brown said.
“We’ve gotten to the elite eight and sweet 16 the last few years, but haven’t been able to get over the hump," Montclair State head coach Todd Tumelty said. "Now, the freshmen and sophomores in our program have that under their belts and know they can get to this level.”
The second semifinal, which is scheduled for a 9 p.m. ET start, will pit Calvin (18-5-2) against the Oneonta State (18-2-2).
Calvin kept its season alive with an improbable 3-2 double-overtime win against Texas-Tyler in the quarterfinals last Saturday.
The Knights were down 2-1 and a man down due to a red card ejection with six minutes left in regulation before rallying for the victory. Senior Brad Heethuis tied the score on a scramble in front of the net in the 86th minute, and junior Trevor Bushhouse scored the game-winner in the 107th minute.
“Once we got that tying goal, we knew we could win it,” Bushhouse said. “Even a man down in the first overtime, we controlled the game. We kept the momentum in the second overtime. I hit a volley in the top shelf after the ball was flicked to me on a corner kick.”
Calvin head coach Chris Hughes said the rally showed the true spirit of his team.
“This team won’t give up,” Hughes said. “That is the most important characteristic of this group. They don’t care if they are a goal down or a man down. They will keep going.”
Oneonta also advanced to the national semifinals with a double-overtime victory. The Red Dragons saw Alex Shkreli score in the 107th minute to down Rutgers-Camden 2-1.
Oneonta’s victory ran its win streak to 14.
“I stopped counting how many in a row we’ve won,” said Oneonta head coach Iain Byrne, whose team also won in double overtime in the third round. “We are playing our best soccer of the season. One of our biggest pluses is we can plug in substitutions, and there is very little drop off. It has made competition for starting places intense, which helps motivate everyone.”